Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, how to develop a creative mind?
Acharya Prashant (AP):
When one is not caught in mundane rubbish, then creativity just happens. You do not develop it. You just remove the obstacles that impede it. You cannot cause creativity, you can only invite creativity. And then it comes on its own.
Causing something is a bit of violence, do you see that? Creativity is like Love. You cannot cause. You cannot say, “I have paid the price, I have met the necessary conditions. Now let there be love. All the right conditions have been created, all the boxes have been ticked. So now you have to love me.”
Causation implies definitiveness, Creativity requires patience and a taste for uncertainty.
So do not ask, “How do I cause creativity to happen?” Creativity is quite a delicate thing. It happens. You don’t make it happen. But you can do a lot to not let it happen. Stop doing all that.
What is it that blocks creativity?
Q: Thinking about past, future.
AP: A cluttered mind, an obsessed mind, a worried mind. A mind too particular about results. Just as creativity is uncertain, similarly are the results of creativity uncertain.
And if you are someone who bothers too much about results, then you can’t be creative. And you would have guessed by now that fearlessness is very important for creativity. So you will have to remove these things from your mind.
Also, you must refrain from cultivating images of creativity. For many of us, creativity is about coming up with an outstanding product or system, or piece of literature.
Creativity is uncertain, so is its form.
What is the definition of ‘creativity’?
The definition is that ‘creativity’ is not transformation or modification. In modification, in renovation or refurbishing, you take something that already exists and give it another shape, or form, or purpose.
In creativity, something totally new comes from nowhere. So creativity is pure creation, not modification. Creativity is not innovation. Creativity is when something happens without any reason, without any past, without any background.
So you can’t have images of creativity.
It is also possible that when you are creative you may not know for a long time that you are creative. And only after a long while do you kind of realize – “Oh! Probably I have been creative since long.”
To name your state as a creative state, you must be able to tally your state with some other state that you have knowledge of, some other state that you call as a ‘state of creativity’. If creativity is fresh, you will not be able to tally it with any other state. So it is quite possible that you are creative without knowing that you are creative.
And it is equally possible that you are not creative while thinking that you are creative. Most people who claim that they are doing creative work are actually just repackaging, reforming, transforming, modifying. That work has some value, but that work cannot be called ‘creative’.
Q: Acharya Ji, does creativity stand on the shoulder of skills?
AP: That is okay. But that skill is required to be a painter, that skill is not required to be creative. And you can be a very good painter, but not creative. By learning skills, you will be a very skilled painter, a good painter. And that does not demand any creativity.
Creativity is your essential, spiritual nature. The fresh and free mind too will ‘do’ something. Creativity is the action of the fresh and free mind.
What action? Any action, any circumstantial action. What particular shape, form, that action will take will depend on the circumstances. The circumstances are not important, even the action is not important, the Freedom and freshness of mind is important.
With a free and fresh mind, whatever you do is creative.
And it need not be something bombastic, it need not be something dramatic.
We have equated creativity with brilliance, and dynamism.
Creativity can be very ordinary.